Monday, April 18, 2011

"So like, Sades Magades, why are you even in Australia?!?"

Some of you have asked me repeatedly why I'm even here in this mystical land of sun, beer and boxing marsupials. And it occurred to me that the lot of you don't really know. So, I will take this time to escape having to have 45 different personal conversations and notify all of you simultaneously why I decided to travel across the world and play in Australia for 5 months.

Yay social media!

Nearly 2 years ago, my roommate Kathy Frances Miller (Allegedly, she hasn't read a single blog post I have written, so I feel zero sympathy for my blasphemous use of her middle name in a public forum. Take that, roomie.) and I conjured up the brilliant idea to fly out to Australia and live with my aunt and uncle after we graduated from ACU. 

And that was about it for the brainstorming.

We got our Visas about a month after we applied for them, and that was a nailbiter. Turns out, Aussies don't want you in their country if you only have 2,000 dollars to your name. But I found a loophole. Anyway, after the long-anticipated approval we started saving that skrill. Meanwhile, God threw a wrench into my seamless plans and made me fall in love with Gerry. I then began to earnestly pray about why I was still on track to fly out here, and why God wanted me to.Why would I leave Gerry now? What am I going to be doing? In between banging my head against a wall whilst working at Outback and banging my head against an InDesign-slathered computer screen whilst trying to finish my degree, my brain was just busy all around.

I didn't really understand why I was here or what I was doing until well into my trip. And being away from my friends, family and boyfriend has been really hard. (Awwwwww! Shut up.) But! God prevails. And I'm now due to return home in less than a month with a clear mind, and a stronger heart. 

Having just been deemed a college grad, you can get a little insecure about your sanity and your financial future. With that, I totally advise escaping reality and taking a would-be-semester-long vacation across the world. It really lets you figure out what you want to do. Not to mention that the change of pace and the break in monotony does wonders on your point of view. 

Does anyone remember when I launched my very first website? It wasn't that long ago, nor was it very successful as more people pay attention to my Facebook than the actual site, but I already want a change. I already want to do more with it. And I already want to promise that I'll pay more attention to the new site. Perfectionism is a bitch, you know. 

Anyway, I think we can all agree that I'm not the cooking-blog, make-your-own-headband kind of person. But when you're seeking your next move, and comparing yourself to other people you know who are kicking out admirable, quirky blogs and DIY websites, that aforementioned insecurity kind of eats at you. So there I was, praying and writing to God fervently, seeking answers to my vexing questions.

But silly me and my mildly unhealthy habit of comparing myself to others.

The idea for spiritual gifts, or God-given talents, or innate abilities, is that no two people share the exact same gift, talent or ability. You bring to the table something completely different - regardless of field similarities. And that's what I came to realize. My desire to do and be more was becoming less of my own and more of whoever I was stalking. And it's far too easy to fall into these days, what with everything being so accessible and constantly thrust your way. I then began to fully take advantage of the isolation that is my closet-shaped room in my uncle's house and focus on what my next move is going to be. 

I had been blessed with a realization that has sparked huge things for my self-esteem, the evolution of Bee Creative Serivices and my potentially successful career. Unfortunately, you're not going to get to know what my big lightbulb moment is just yet. Though, stay tuned. It should be up and running by the summer. And if my oh-so-talented graphic designer is reading this, I do believe a deadline has just been set. Oopsie. 

I'm beyond, BEYOND excited to unveil my new ideas with all of you. I think it's going to be a really great thing, and I know I'll be happy doing it. So long as all of you continue your trend of getting engaged and choosing to hire me to be your wedding photographer.

What tops the list of all of these pensive nights, powerful prayers and perfectly timed ideas is that I'll be able to start a new chapter of my life in Austin, Texas with Gerry sooner than later. 

Being across the world has given me ample time to figure out a lot of things pertaining to my overall happiness and the happiness of those affiliated with me. It would appear that I lived a quintessential college life, in that I really "experienced" things and "found myself", so to speak. Hard and dark at times, but worth the light I'm feeling now. 

If there's anything I can take home from my experience here in Aussieland, it would be to live simpler, love deeper and wear sunscreen.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Well I would walk 500 miles, then I would walk 500 more...

Aussie slang defined (I found one!):
  • Arvo = afternoon. I received an email from an employer asking me if "Saturday arvo would work" and to let her "have a proper think". I'm living in a Dr. Seuss book. 
Choosing to see New Zealand in exactly a week was a tricky commitment. On the one hand, we always had something to do. On the other hand, we always had something to do. By the end of the week I could fall asleep standing. I mean, I could probably fall asleep standing at any given moment, but you get the gist. 

We got to our first hostel late on the 29th, feeling a little winded from our travels but really excited to start exploring. We managed to book a private hostel room with a double bed. Snuggle time with Katie! And that was the only bed that my body didn't reject completely, so that was a nice trend setter. Too bad none of the other hostels wanted to pick up on that trend...

After we settled, peed, and poked around the hostel for a while we remembered how ravenous we were. Luckily, we were staying at a hostel that was right off a happening strip of restaurants. What was doubly fantastic is that they were all mostly Asian restaurants. My taste buds were high-fiving each other. 

But... whomp whomp: everything was closed. 

Except a pizza joint at the end of the strip. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaydamnit. At this point, if Italian food was banned from Australia I think I would leap and bound in utter happiness. I was raped with Italian food during our Melbourne trip since Katie's mother and her mother's best friend are from Kansas, and don't stray too far from foods they can't pronounce. What we lacked in edible diversity, we made up for in shenanigans and laughter. I forgave them.

Anyway, we found that stupid pizza place as it was nearing closing time. They grabbed us two pieces of pizza from a giant pan that was sitting out for God knows how long and popped them in the oven. Afterward, we decided that the most satisfying thing to do would be to wash our overpriced pizza squares down with some chain Asian food. This just resulted in my stomach being confused and my wallet being annoyed. Confused, annoyed and smelly - we stopped by a convenience store on the way home to buy some toiletries that we couldn't bring on the plane. You know: shampoo, conditioner, face scrub that we thought was body wash...

The next day was our only full day in Auckland, so we didn't want to waste any time. We got up at 9, snoozed 3 more times, waited for the receptionist, checked out of our luxury double bed and into our Nazi concentration community dorm room, then mozied on out the door and into the city for lunch after a yawn and a stretch.

And so begins our 9 hour walk/hike across the entire city. But first! I will excuse the fact that I have mozzarella dripping from my veins, and indulge in literally the best margherita pizza to ever hit my lips.

On a happy belly, we begin our walk. And immediately, we get lost. This might come to a surprise to all of you as Katie and I are capable, brilliant, ravishing young college graduates, I know. But in our defense, the "marked pathway" that guides us along this coast-to-coast walk was made for the ants that attend Zoolander's School for Kids Who Can't Read Good. Later than sooner, though, we made it to the base of Mt. Eden. Then we climbed it. Then we were slapped silly with amazement at God's earth, and the amazing things it does naturally. Volcanic craters? Tectonic plate-shifts to create regions and regions of hills and mountains? Geothermal parks?! Ridiculous.

We got lost on the way home. Shocker! But you can forget it if you thought my Chacos and I were walking back home. It was 7:30pm and the walk to where we got to was a 9 hour walk. Do the math. Instead, we opted for a 30 dollar taxi ride back to the hostel. Shut up, it was worth it. Covered in dirt, sweat and city sludge - all I wanted was a shower. We walked into our dorm and noticed that one of the top bunks of our set of bunk beds was being occupied by a young gentleman who had the musk of not showering and weed. German, high, and uninterested in getting to know us - we avoided the hug and howdies and immediately went to shower so we could eat. And I think I ate enough Thai to successfully cancel out my mozzarella veins.

When I said that our next place to sleep after our double bed ecstasy was a Nazi concentration community dorm room, I'd like to think I wasn't exaggerating. I'd also like to think that these new German roomies were related to our previous German roomies that we stayed with in Wollongong. We <3 the Gong! Around 3am I hear a rustling from our window, one of our roommates staggers/climbs in the window and makes his way to the bunk above me. Wreaking of booze and weed, he squeaks his way into comfort. About an hour later, I hear him dictating orders in German. Thoroughly freaked out and in complete discomfort on the tissue paper pillow I'm "sleeping" with, I lie awake. I think at this point, Hitler had ordered his troops into the ghetto. Or something. All I know is that I'm balls ass tired.

My eyes finally shut, only to be immediately reopened by the poke of Katie's finger in my shoulder. We needed to get up and walk to the city so we could catch our Naked Bus to Rotorua. In a haze, I gather my belongings and head to the front lobby so I can set my bags down to go brush my teeth. I peer at the clock. It's 5am. We don't have to be awake for another 2 hours.

You suck, Katie. You suck bad.

In her defense, daylight savings time in another country while your phone is set to the time of a different country can get a little trixie. But she's not excused. We arrived in Rotorua and were blasted with the horrible stench of sulfur. Among that, we were also greeted with a barf-worthy meal from a could-be-great hole in the wall cafe. So far, not so good. But! All was forgiven when we got to our hostel. Our lovely, chill, complete with hot-tub hostel that we were residing in for the next 5 days. And we had our own room. And we didn't sleep with tissue paper pillows. Success!

While in Rotorooter, we hiked, got lost, walked, smelled too much sulfur, got lost, sulfur, walked more, took hundreds of pictures, coddled my mozzarella veins, walked, saw an uncountable amount of colors, ate Thai, sulfur, walked through geothermal parks and ate an unforgettably delicious chocolate crepe. But my favorite part had to be the 4 hour 1,500 acre farm and lakeside horse trek we went on. Why? Because we went on a 4 hour 1,500 acre farm and lakeside horse trek. Then, we got free drinks.

New Zealand was like nothing I've ever seen. Both
literally, and figuratively. Geothermal parks are one of the coolest things on this planet. The fact that the deep earth is so unbearably hot that it creates fluorescent colors on the earth's surface is just amazing to me. So many colors! Though, I could do without the jank rotten egg smell of sulfur, but it comes with the territory.

Sort of like Gerry. He's hot, but his donk smells like rotten eggs, too.